“The Ministry of Labor needs an overhaul!”

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“The Department of Labor needs an overhaul and you need to help us shake up this department,” Labor Minister Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte said at a May Day rally organized by the Labor Federation of Saint Lucia (TUF).

She told the assembly that the Department of Labor is the agency to support unions in representing the interests of workers in this country.

As for the Department of Labour’s Employment Unit, Albert-Pototte points out that it is not enough to take care of Canadian agricultural workers.

“We need a database. We have to see the situation of workers in this country. We need information about people who are looking for jobs, about their skills, about the areas in which we need to train them,” she explained.

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According to the Minister, people looking for a job should be able to go to the Department of Labor to be helped to prepare for the world of work.

She also noted that the Work Permit Unit allows non-citizens to work in Saint Lucia.

But Albert-Poyotte said that as minister she had to agree.

Nonetheless, she said she saw several areas that raised red flags.

“There are certain types of jobs that people apply for work permits for, and I say, ‘Don’t we have people in Saint Lucia who can do that?’ How do we know? Because the employer is supposed to advertise the job, interview and select the best person for the job,” the Minister of Labor said.

While admitting that there may not be local expertise available for some technical work, Albert-Poyotte said there is basic work that Saint Lucians can do.

“But the Department of Labor needs to help us screen and keep employers on their toes, so they don’t bring people to work in Saint Lucia to do work that Saint Lucians are qualified, skilled and capable of. to do,” said the MP for Babonneau to applause from the audience.

She also drew attention to occupational health and safety, noting that many workplaces have problems with mould, air quality and poor hygiene.

“We need to be on the ground to ensure that our workers are working in safe environments conducive to production,” said the former SLTU president.

Main photo: Ministry of Labor stock image

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